White House knew ISIS planned to kill James Foley

posted at 10:41 am on August 20, 2014 by Noah Rothman

The gruesome execution of American journalist James Foley came as a shock to many who were following the increasingly horrific situation in Iraq and Syria. The revelation that another journalist, Steven Sotloff, was also a captive of Islamic State militants and may soon meet the same fate was equally surprising for many. Many, that is, except those in the White House.

“ISIS had recently threatened to kill U.S. journalist James Foley to avenge airstrikes the United States has conducted in Iraq, a senior U.S. official told ABC News,” ABC reporters Arlette Saenz and White House correspondent Jonathan Karl reported on Wednesday.

The White House had been aware of the threat prior to the release of a video Tuesday night that appears to show the beheading of Foley and warns that militants will carry out a similar act against U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff, who went missing in August.

President Obama was briefed on the video aboard Air Force One Tuesday night as he returned to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, from Washington to resume his August vacation. The White House said the intelligence community is working to authenticate the gruesome video that allegedly shows Foley’s beheading.

Combined with the unconfirmed revelation that Foley’s killer, an ISIS militant with a pronounced British accent, may have been a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, this is shaping up to be a particularly bad news cycle for the White House

It is entirely reasonable, however, to believe that American officials had no knowledge of either Foley or Setoff’s whereabouts. There are many outstanding questions about how Foley, who went missing after seeking to cross the Turkish border into Syria in 2012, even went missing in the first place.

Business Insider reported on Tuesday that most publicly available intelligence suggested that these captured American journalists were still in Syria, and may even be in the custody of Bashar al-Assad’s government.

What is unclear is if previous investigations into Foley’s whereabouts were inaccurate, if ISIS militants somehow captured Foley from some of the regime’s most elite security, or if the Assad regime provided Foley to ISIS.

“Until recently, James Foley was thought to be in hands of pro-Assad forces. If Assad is handing over Westerners to ISIS to be killed, it indicates Assad feels cornered, looking for leverage,” BBC’s Kim Ghattas tweeted, adding that the assessment jibes with what she has been told by sources in Damascus recently.

Nevertheless, the revelation that the White House was aware of the threats to Foley’s life and was unable to provide for his safety will prompt administration critics to sharpen their attacks on Obama’s approach to the crisis in the Middle East. In the wake of what may have been a preventable atrocity, some of that criticism will be quite valid.


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Are you guys arguing that we shouldn’t have acted against ISIS to save Foley’s life?

No

Are you arguing that the government is responsible for every journalist who puts himself in harm’s way?

No – the US gov’t should give a damn about every American. Period!!!

You too, duhhhh

Are you arguing that an ability to kidnap and murder one person is evidence of a strong international threat?

It is, but your tiny brain will never get it.

What exactly are you arguing?

everdiso on August 20, 2014 at 11:46 AM

That you are an eternal dummy on display, for the entire world to laugh at. Your head will be chopped off and it’ll still be in obama’s azz, fool.

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 11:53 AM

No testosterone?

ISIS threatened to kill a hostage if we attacked them.

We attacked them anyways. That’s testosterone.

Do you think we shouldn’t have attacked? Do you think Foley would be safer now if we hadn’t?

Does all any group in the world have to do to bring us to our knees is kidnap a journalist?

everdiso on August 20, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Nope. All any group has to do is elect a neophyte like Obama. Can you guess who that group was (no fair looking in the mirror).

Walter L. Newton on August 20, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Sorry for the run on sentence, I meant to say the Marine in a Mexican jail.

garydt on August 20, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Expect more of this from a disengaged president who loathes the use of power by the USA for a good cause.

jake49 on August 20, 2014 at 11:54 AM

everdiso on August 20, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Most of us aren’t arguing, merely making pointed, pithy and insightful statements about King Putz lack of character, honesty and leadership skills.

He did say he wouldn’t take any vacations – there is video

He did say “No man left behind” several times that’s on video too.

But we have dead border patrol agents,

A marine in a mexican jail (for no good reason)

Four Dead in Ben gha zi

Thousands of dead alll over the middle east

Not to mention Chicago…

But hey that back nine!

FORE!

dogsoldier on August 20, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Disturbing is an understatement

gophergirl on August 20, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Wait, schadenfraude – you ARE arguing that the ability to kidnap and murder a journalist is proof of a strong international threat?

Really?

everdiso on August 20, 2014 at 11:55 AM

coolrepublica on August 20, 2014 at 11:31 AM

.
p.s. American is always capitalized!

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 11:49 AM

.
I think we need to get away from the term “American.”

It’s inconvenient to have to write out “U.S. citizen”, but the definition of the term “American” has been expanded by (EXPLETIVE) journalists to include ANYONE in South, Central, or North America.

listens2glenn on August 20, 2014 at 11:56 AM

Wait, schadenfraude – you ARE arguing that the ability to kidnap and murder a journalist is proof of a strong international threat?

Really?

everdiso on August 20, 2014 at 11:55 AM

No, but you are still a dummy.

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 11:57 AM

ISIS is a threat to every single Westerner, the world over.

Wake up, dummies of the world.

Plus, this

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 11:57 AM

You are too kind to him.

dogsoldier on August 20, 2014 at 11:58 AM

I think we need to get away from the term “American.”

It’s inconvenient to have to write out “U.S. citizen”, but the definition of the term “American” has been expanded by (EXPLETIVE) journalists to include ANYONE in South, Central, or North America.

listens2glenn on August 20, 2014 at 11:56 AM

I know this, and have no peeve with it. Let’s!

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 11:59 AM

You are too kind to him.

dogsoldier on August 20, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Easy target. You know that it’s not fair to fight a gnat with a tank.

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Some liberals refuse to accept facts that contradict their beliefs. It’s a religious thing.

dogsoldier on August 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Please explain, schadenfraude, how you personally are under threat from ISIS.

everdiso on August 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM

This is everpisso, except for when its azz is in obama’s.

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 12:01 PM

listens2glenn on August 20, 2014 at 11:56 AM

.
I know this, and have no peeve with it. Let’s!

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 11:59 AM

.
This was begun during the (continuing) debate over the illegal alien invaders.

“They’re just as American as we are.”

listens2glenn on August 20, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM

True.

Shall we have a poll on what King Putt will say about this today?

I’m going with “reckless” and “irresponsible” and “tragic.”

Any word on when his majesty will speachify?

dogsoldier on August 20, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Most of us aren’t arguing, merely making pointed, pithy and insightful statements about King Putz lack of character, honesty and leadership skills.

He did say he wouldn’t take any vacations – there is video

He did say “No man left behind” several times that’s on video too.

But we have dead border patrol agents,

A marine in a mexican jail (for no good reason)

Four Dead in Ben gha zi

Thousands of dead alll over the middle east

Not to mention Chicago…

But hey that back nine!

FORE!

You forgot the SEALs he had killed, after he single-handed killed Osama.
dogsoldier on August 20, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Please explain, schadenfraude, how you personally are under threat from ISIS.

everdiso on August 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM

.
We ALL are.

How difficult is it for “Kamikaze” attackers to cross the southern border ?

How large of a WMD does only ONE of these “Kamikazes” need to kill a couple hundred U.S. citizens ?

listens2glenn on August 20, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Please explain, schadenfraude, how you personally are under threat from ISIS.

everdiso on August 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM

In case you missed the recent ISIS selfies at the White House, New York and San Fran, they don’t need much to make a fight with us here.

Did you miss the whole marathon bombing event and the aftermath?

dogsoldier on August 20, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Harris Faulkner has my respect she watched the grusome brutality of the video…

sorrowen on August 20, 2014 at 12:07 PM

everditso on August 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM

We ALL are.

How difficult is it for “Kamikaze” attackers to cross the southern border ?

How large of a WMD does only ONE of these “Kamikazes” need to kill a couple hundred U.S. citizens ?

listens2glenn on August 20, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Not ditzo, he’s safe in Canada.

slickwillie2001 on August 20, 2014 at 12:08 PM

listens2glenn on August 20, 2014 at 12:02 PM

It was actually begun way longer than then. The Central/South-Americans have always had a peeve with the U.S. Americans calling themselves “Americans” or “Americanos” as they say.

They have always, rightly, claimed that N. America is comprised of Canada/the USA/Mexico.

Thus, U.S. Americans it shall be!!!

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 12:08 PM

OK, so Barry doesn’t have many fans here, but what, pray tell, was “disturbing” about the fact that U.S. can’t find a needle in a haystack a single person in a desert?

corona79 on August 20, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Please explain, schadenfraude, how you personally are under threat from ISIS.

everdiso on August 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Please explain, anyone, how you personally are under threat from Nazis.

Neville Chamberlain

Rod on August 20, 2014 at 12:09 PM

listens2glenn on August 20, 2014 at 12:07 PM

A baggie full of ebola infected material in the NY Subway at rush hour.

Followed by an announcement and cell phone pictures.

NY will stop in its tracks – no pun intended.

dogsoldier on August 20, 2014 at 12:10 PM

So cute. Come here, darlin’.

Please explain, schadenfraude, how you personally are under threat from ISIS.

everdiso on August 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Do you think the Nazis were a personal threat to your grandparent, everready? (presuming your grandparents were not actually Nazis themselves).

No? No bombs raining down on grandparents in American cities, right? No reason to imagine Nazis were ever a personal threat, correct?

Dolce Far Niente on August 20, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Please explain, schadenfraude, how you personally are under threat from ISIS.

lester on August 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Those souls in the World Trade Centers were under no threat from al queda until they were.

I tend to believe people who tell me that their main joy in life would be to murder me and use my head for a soccer ball and then provide video proof that they fully intend to do just that.

We’re sorry that you’re a moron and that men have to fight and die to protect gullible and naive pieces of shit like you.

HumpBot Salvation on August 20, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Please explain, schadenfraude, how you personally are under threat from ISIS.

everdiso on August 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Fu*ktard, I corrected Noah yesterday, as such

The threat ISIS poses to the civilized world is total. For addressing the horrors ISIS is doling out to Iraq’s minorities, Americans will be targeted and retaliated against (everywhere in the world). Citizens of the United States cannot insulate themselves from this threat by pretending it will go away. This is our fight.

See the bolded section. Kid your stupid head at your own risk.

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 12:06 PM

The list of OBlamers achievements is so long.

dogsoldier on August 20, 2014 at 12:13 PM

We ALL are.

How difficult is it for “Kamikaze” attackers to cross the southern border ?

How large of a WMD does only ONE of these “Kamikazes” need to kill a couple hundred U.S. citizens ?

listens2glenn on August 20, 2014 at 12:07 PM

All Westerners are at risk, everywhere in the world. Period. These ISIS goons mean business.

Not ditzo, he’s safe in Canada.

slickwillie2001 on August 20, 2014 at 12:08 PM

No, no one is safe in Canada either.

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 12:15 PM

HumpBot Salvation on August 20, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Excellent point. Not to mention the Boston Marathon and Fort Hood.

dogsoldier on August 20, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Please explain, Schadenfreude, how you personally are under threat from ISIS.

lester on August 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM

There is one place where you are safe, lester.

Actually Obama’s azz is a pretty safe place to be.

Ned Pepper on August 11, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 12:17 PM

In all do respect for the president, I am going to defend him.

His security briefing is between the 4th and 5th hole, this revelation of the planned killing happened when he was on the 8th hole…so Obama could not have known.

Just setting the record straight…the timeline is important.

right2bright on August 20, 2014 at 12:18 PM

King Putt doesn’t like journalists … so it’s no big deal.

Missilengr on August 20, 2014 at 12:19 PM

How dare ISIS take Ferguson off the front pages!

Who’s side are they on?

profitsbeard on August 20, 2014 at 12:19 PM

right2bright on August 20, 2014 at 12:18 PM

He was on his way back to Martha’s Vineyard, with his snotty daughter.

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 12:19 PM

ISIS have blood lust, lots of dough, lots of will and they use the social media to their advantage. They also know that an eunuch is in charge of the West now.

Fools in the West humor them, with glee.

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 12:21 PM

A baggie full of ebola infected material in the NY Subway at rush hour.

Followed by an announcement and cell phone pictures.

NY will stop in its tracks – no pun intended.

dogsoldier on August 20, 2014 at 12:10 PM

The symptoms don’t appear right away, so time would be allowed for people to transmit the virus throughout the city and beyond (given all of the tourism and business travelers). When symptoms appear, then we’d get the announcement and pictures. Guess who’s ready to not let that crisis go to waste.

86 on August 20, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Holder?

or

Folder?

Whom are media to cover today?

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Please explain, schadenfraude, how you personally are under threat from ISIS.

everdiso on August 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM

If that is the criteria, it only matters if we personally are under threat.

Than riots in other cities do not matter
Terrorists bombings and killings around the world do not matter
Whatever happens in another city doesn’t matter
9/11 doesn’t mean anything beside the people in the twin towers

Yeah, your comment makes a lot of sense.

Someone robbing a bank you don’t bank at doesn’t matter
Raping a woman you don’t know, doesn’t matter
Kidnapping a child that is not yours, doesn’t matter

Yeah, your comment makes sense…

right2bright on August 20, 2014 at 12:22 PM

right2bright on August 20, 2014 at 12:18 PM

They have newspapers and tv out there or is that on the snack cart that follows him around?

dogsoldier on August 20, 2014 at 12:22 PM

SIS is a threat to every single Westerner, the world over.
Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 11:58 AM

One would have to be an incredible idiot to believe this isn’t the case.

I can’t believe there are Americans, much less Westerners, who can’t get it through their their dense cranial matter that these people hate our Freedom and won’t stop until it’s taken away

WAKE THE F**K UP!!

Pelosi Schmelosi on August 20, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Please explain, anyone, how you personally are under threat from Nazis.

The nazis had taken over europe, a large number of countries with large standing armies and economies, and arguably had the biggest army in the world.

How are they comparable to a group of criminals who have temporarily claimed a tiny stretch of largely undefended desert?

And we’re engaging ISIS, already, just easily handed them a serious defeat, ans they lashed out by desperately murdering one of their only assets.

everdiso on August 20, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Holder?

or

Folder?

Whom are media to cover today?

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Rick Perry duh!

Pelosi Schmelosi on August 20, 2014 at 12:24 PM

King Putt doesn’t like journalists … so it’s no big deal.

Missilengr on August 20, 2014 at 12:19 PM

They only wish it were someone from Faux.

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 12:25 PM

everdiso on August 20, 2014 at 12:24 PM

You’re an uninformed, clueless idiot! And I’m being nice! Please keep posting away, the entertainment value is priceless

Pelosi Schmelosi on August 20, 2014 at 12:27 PM

everdiso on August 20, 2014 at 12:24 PM

LOL, wow you’re incredibly stupid. Wake up.

HumpBot Salvation on August 20, 2014 at 12:28 PM

86 on August 20, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Yes, 21 day max incubation period, a few days after they do the deed to make the announcement.

Everything would come to a halt.

dogsoldier on August 20, 2014 at 12:29 PM

everdiso on August 20, 2014 at 12:24 PM

We are not engaging them. They see the dam as a minor loss. They know that they can out wait King Putt and resume their slaughter. They killed Foley to MOCK OBlamer for the limp d*ck his is. They are laughing at him and taunting him.

As the others have said, you are serious stupid.

dogsoldier on August 20, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Can someone tell me when the oceans will recede so Obama can heal the world ?

SmallGovtGuy on August 20, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Every day brings yet another crap sandwich, courtesy of the vile wretch, Obama.

justltl on August 20, 2014 at 12:59 PM

The oaf in chief stepped on the Foley family, as they courageously spoke about their lost son.

Disgusting!!!

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 1:01 PM

The White House said the intelligence community is working to authenticate the gruesome video that allegedly shows Foley’s beheading.

Outrageous. Buying time for his numb-ness to decide what the polls say he should say, when he finally speaks. The Brits are working to identify the killer while we are still trying to decide if a duck is a duck. “Intelligence service” is an oxymoron in this case. So is Commander in Chief.

IndieDogg on August 20, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Some folks are just too stupid to promote their opinions.
But today it is ‘everdiso’ or ‘lester’ or ‘nonpartisan’ or ‘libfree’ or … the list is getting longer every admission cycle.
The Islamic Savages are the best funded & equipped group of community agitators since Genghis Khan. And they claim to be headed our way. Have you reason to doubt them?
People and “things” are crossing our southern border every hour. A certain fraction of that ‘commerce’ is (how shall I put this?) unobserved.
So to the libtards who fail to see the total fumble fark of (post war) Iraq committed (on purpose btw) by the Putt Administration … you define: IGNORANUS’s.

Historians will not treat the Panahou Bench Scrub POTUS at all kindly. Factor’s such as the measure of Global Free Society balance, before and after coupled with the increase of despotism as it influences states and populations will be a HARSH measure during the reign of YOUR … Dear Liar the Community Organizer.

Missilengr on August 20, 2014 at 1:11 PM

With our President’s history of Doubling Down, I fear for someone yet unnamed.

TimBuk3 on August 20, 2014 at 1:23 PM

And we’re engaging ISIS, already, just easily handed them a serious defeat, ans they lashed out by desperately murdering one of their only assets.

everdiso on August 20, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Mission Accomplished eh?

HonestLib on August 20, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Obama has set the United States up for major terrorist attacks. He’s done so by opening up the border and by allowing Iraq to devolve. His fecklessness enables and emboldens our enemies.
And while the clock ticks down on those attacks, and while innocents are slaughtered, he vacations and golfs, not bothering to even present an appearance of concern, much less effectiveness.
He is a loathsome wretch of a president and miserable excuse of a man.

justltl on August 20, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Can someone tell me when the oceans will recede so Obama can heal the world ?

SmallGovtGuy on August 20, 2014 at 12:55 PM

President Obama was never informed of the diurnal tidal cycle.

HonestLib on August 20, 2014 at 1:32 PM

This one is worse than ISIS. They’d just chop a limb off. This one wants capital punishment.
How does it feel to know that ISIS is more moral than you?

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 15, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 1:39 PM

This one is worse than ISIS. They’d just chop a limb off. This one wants capital punishment.
How does it feel to know that ISIS is more moral than you?

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 15, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 1:39 PM

Talk about a few fries short, but he does seem to watch Adult Swim. Puts money in my pocket, so thank you ATHF.

HonestLib on August 20, 2014 at 1:44 PM

PREVENTABLE?! How was it preventable by any sane means?! Those are bad guys, slaughtering people by the thousands, bent on genocide, totalitarianism, and the eventual conquest of the world. It’s inevitable that they kill people and hold them has hostage–because they know our letting people die is blow to morale. They want us to quit bombing them so they can keep conquering. Either we acquiesce, or we kill them. The former is suicidal, and the second will result in the death of hostages.

There only logical recourse here is complete and total war. No “winning hearts and minds,” no ceasefires, no prisons, no trials, no mercy, just pure unadulterated slaughter until ISIS surrenders or dies. Humiliate them. Destroy their mosques, communication lines, doing everything in our power to wipe them out. No more games. No more apologies.

RockinRickOwen on August 20, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Don’t be hatin’, they just caliphatin’..
-
Zero the Terrible

StubbornGreenBurros on August 20, 2014 at 2:07 PM

so he heard about this and then continued his vacation??-this is a regular dem for ya–only worried about themselves—he doesn’t care about the country or any other american or that this could be one that he let out of gitmo just to be ‘compassionate’-they are not compassionate they are dangerous to our republic and freedoms

jstan442 on August 20, 2014 at 3:29 PM

I believe all presidents visibly age at an accelerated rate while in office because they have access to so much intel they can never divulge.
Remember the sophomoric whining of Obama when he was campaigning, saying all kinds of terrible things about Bush? Imagine the look on his face when he was given the same Intel that Bush had all along… and realized how stupid he was/is.

Still, no excuses for this crap.

Tard on August 20, 2014 at 4:45 PM

I believe all presidents visibly age at an accelerated rate while in office because they have access to so much intel they can never divulge.
Remember the sophomoric whining of Obama when he was campaigning, saying all kinds of terrible things about Bush? Imagine the look on his face when he was given the same Intel that Bush had all along… and realized how stupid he was/is.

Still, no excuses for this crap.

Tard on August 20, 2014 at 4:45 PM

So in this case it should be Valerie Jarrett that will be aging.

slickwillie2001 on August 20, 2014 at 5:35 PM

I’m just asking the question because I am curious about the “personal threat” argument. Why did we engage in WWII? Neither Germany or Japan was a threat to the homeland. There was simply no way small countries like Japan and Germany could ever dream of occupation of America. I know the propaganda was “fighting a war for our freedom” but really it was the freedom of Europe and Asia for which we fought. So yes there is a comparison. So no, ISIS is hardly a consequential invading threat to America. But they do represent barbarism vs modernity, and the worst of humanity. They are killing Christians. Ect. Should we do something about it. What should we do?

Faramir on August 20, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Comment pages: 1 2